Welcome to Rockford Rescue Mission

Rockford Rescue Mission is recognized as the region’s primary provider of assistance to the homeless,
near-homeless, addicted and working poor in the Rock River Valley.


Mission Statement

Rockford Rescue Mission shares hope and help in Jesus’ name to move people from homelessness and despair toward personal and spiritual wholeness.

Core Values

  • Living for the Glory of God
  • Respecting Human Dignity and Immortality
  • Proclaiming the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ
  • Modeling Compassionate Generosity
  • Partnering with the Church and Community
  • Serving with Integrity and Excellence
  • Rejoicing in Lives Changed by God


A Message from Executive Director


Welcome to Rockford Rescue Mission! I’m delighted you’re here. It gives me a chance to share the tremendous difference you can make as a partner with our ministry to people who are homeless and hungry, or experiencing poverty and despair.


Every day, we see people facing situations far beyond their control. The news reports and underlying statistics break my heart. Eighty percent of homeless women are fleeing domestic violence. The opioid epidemic claims the lives of more than 100 people in the U.S. every day. Mental health services in our area need far more funding to serve those in need.


Your support makes a difference!


● RESCUE through crisis services like food, shelter and clothing – supporting people’s most immediate and basic needs
● RENEWAL through comprehensive life recovery programs – including art and music therapy, life-skills classes and employment training
● RESTORATION through returning men and women to our community – and to their families, friends and employers – healed and whole through God’s love


I hope your heart is moved by the possibility of having such an impact in so many hurting lives. Our Mission guests feel blessed and encouraged, knowing they have you standing beside them and supporting their recovery.


The Mission’s ministry is most powerful with the strength of our Rock River Valley communities behind us. As we continue serving together in 2019, I’m deeply grateful for the people, churches and businesses that have kept our doors open for 55 years.


Please consider joining us as a supporter, a volunteer and/or a participant at our events. Your impact will last for eternity.


Partners in Hope,

Sherry Pitney

Executive Director


The Big Needs in Rockford


45,680 nights of lodging


153,264 meals


202,102 items of clothes and hygiene


7,909 counseling sessions

Meet Our Leadership Team

Sherry web3

Sherry Pitney

Executive Director

Greg Cooney

Director of Programs

Jan Danaher

Director of Finance

Mindy Jackson

Director of Human Resources

Teresa Reeverts

Director of Program Support Services

Mike Hedrick

Supervisor of Men’s Programs

Crystal Savage

Director of Development

Ted Tomita

Director of Donor Relations
Robbin S Volunteer Coordinator

Robbin Snodgrass

Volunteer Coordinator

Tom Mathisen

Director of Operations

Pam Tomita

Women's Programs Supervisor

Meet our 2019 Board of Directors

Ann Dittmar, Chair
Attorney: Guyer & Enichen P.C.


Brad Vander Heyden, Vice Chair
Business Owner:  Advanced Chimney Systems


Michael Kalodimos, Treasurer
VP Commercial Lending: Rockford Bank & Trust


Laura Ortiz, Secretary
Retired, ComEd Human Resources

Ronald Billy, Jr.
Architect: Tyson & Billy Architects PC


Tim Clauson
International Playground Director:
Kids Around the World


Anita Miller
Professor & Teacher:  Dominican University

Char Remer
Retired School Administrator


Dennis Staaland
Consultant, Mallwood Capital


Stan Valiulis
President, High PSA LTD

Council of Elders

Rev. Robert David Aldridge
Pastor, Bethany Presbyterian Church

Rev. Peder Carlson
Retired Presbyterian Pastor

Rev. Gordon E. Hanstad
Retired Baptist General Conference Pastor

Rev. James H. Harness
Retired Minister & Missionary

Richard Todd 
CEO, Todd Transit

Rev. Dwight Zuercher
Retired Baptist Pastor

Rockford Rescue Mission

is an IRS-approved

501(c)3 charitable organization.

All donations

to Rockford Rescue Mission

are tax-deductible.

Tour the History of Rockford Rescue Mission


  • 1963 Ray Stewart, a recovered alcoholic, comes from the Pacific Garden Mission in Chicago to establish a similar mission in Rockford.
  • 1964 Ray rents a building at 116 Kishwaukee Street for $100 a month and opens the doors of the Rockford Rescue Mission in May.  The sign on the front door reads, “All are welcome here. The alcoholic, the addict, the stranger, the sojourner, the pilgrim, the poor. There is hope for all who enter here.”
  • 1965 At Ray’s recommendation, the Board appoints Ray’s pastor, Rev. G.O. Pitney with his wife, Nadine, as new director. The first newsletter is published, later called The Rescuer.
  • 1967 All debts are paid off. Rev. Pitney appeals in The Rescuer, “Won’t you help us build a modern city rescue mission which any Christian would be proud of and upon which the world would look with greater respect?”
  • 1969 Forty to fifty churches are supporting the Mission and The Rescuer circulation reaches 2,000.


  • 1971 The Mission buys the 21,000 square foot Germania Club at 121 South Madison St. for $30,000. The building, built in 1892 with a ballroom, bar and Rockford’s first automated bowling alley, is converted into a place of refuge, redemption and recovery. The new Mission motto is: “Help all the people we can, in all the ways we can, as long as ever we can.”
  • 1974 The Mission partners with Christian Love Acres, a 60-acre farm near South Beloit, to provide work rehabilitation for the men through doing chores, caring for animals, buying and selling hay and painting tractors.
  • 1975 Women and children are included in outreach services; a literacy program began, and free clothing is distributed to the needy through Family Day program.
  • 1979 The abandoned Poole Hotel at 730 West State St. and the house behind it on Elm Street are purchased from Salvation Army for $10,000 to care for  women and families. “Ye Rescue Shoppe” opens in a rented building at 309 Seventh St. to sell donated goods to support the Mission.
  • Mission founder Ray Stewart dies in an auto accident. In tribute, G.O. Pitney writes, “If it had not been for Ray Stewart, there would not be a Rockford Rescue Mission.”


  • 1980 A house at 723 Elm St. is purchased for $32,000 for staff housing and “Kiddie Kare” children’s ministry.
  • 1982 Perry Pitney (oldest son of G.O. and Nadine Pitney) and his wife, Sherry, are hired to lead the programs (Perry is named Associate Director in 1984 and Director in 1987).
  • 1984 “The Pitney Family Gospel Singers” begin touring to give concerts in order to raise awareness and funds for the Mission.
  • 1985 The Christian Care Center, with eighteen rooms for women and children’s recovery, is dedicated after six years of renovations.
  • 1987 “The Pitneys” are named “Contemporary Gospel Bluegrass Group of the Year” by the Society for the Preservation of Bluegrass Music in America.
  • 1988 “The Helping Hand” at 125 Madison St. opens to distribute free food and clothing to those in need.


  • 1992 An area auto dealer donates a 46,000 square foot building at 1201 Broadway, which is later sold for $119,000 to be designated as a building fund.
  • 1994 The Mission purchases and develops 42 acres in Southwest Rockford for a children’s day camp and recreational/agricultural programs known as Mission Acres.
  • 1995 The Rockford Register Star presents the Mission with its Excelsior Award for outstanding contribution to the community.

The Launch of Hope Place

  • 1996 The Mission purchases 5.5 acres of property at 600 and 700 West State Street for $150,000 from Bill Hembrough Buick, which includes a gift in kind of $392,000. “Ye Rescue Shoppe” is sold and the Mission opens a new thrift store, “Keepers Unlimited” at 1405 Kishwaukee St.
  • 1998 “The Pitneys” win the Rockford Area Music Industry (RAMI) Award for Best Christian music group. Nadine Pitney receives the YWCA Marcella Harris Award for Community Service.
  • 1999 The Mission relocates to Hope Place. This new facility is made possible by a $4.5 million capital campaign. The Women’s Crisis Center, Hope Clinic and a second thrift store are opened. The staff increases to 102 employees. G.O. and Nadine Pitney retire.


  • 2000 Perry Pitney resigns, and Dr. Pat Clinton becomes interim director.
  •  Innovative Education Center opens, and community outreach support groups are launched.
  • 2001 Keepers Unlimited opens a third thrift store at Southgate Shopping Center.
  • Sherry Pitney is appointed Executive Director.
  • 2002 The Mission is licensed by the Illinois Department of Human Services as a State Certified Recovery Home. Hope Dental Clinic opens.
  • 2004 “Rescuing the Raggedy Man: The History of Rockford Rescue Mission” by Perry Pitney and Jim Killam is published.
  • The Mission celebrates its 40th anniversary.
  • 2005 Former Executive Director Perry Pitney is killed in an auto accident.
  • 2009 The building at 625 West State St. is renovated to house Restoration Café, a vocational training center and café open to the public.
  • The Mission’s “Mother of Rescue,” Nadine Pitney, dies after a long battle with cancer.
  • The Mission celebrates 10 years at Hope Place and 45 years of ministry.
  • The Mission receives the Spirit of Caring Award from Crusader Community Health.


  • 2010 G.O. Pitney dies at age 80 after battling Parkinson’s Disease for 26 years. The block of Horsman Street between State Street and Mulberry Street is designated “Pitney Place” in honor of G.O. and Nadine Pitney.
  • 2011 The Mission expands its State Street campus with the purchase of the building at 212 N. Rockton Ave. to accommodate needs of the facilities department.
  • 2012 The Mission purchases the former 56,000 square foot Bob’s Hardware to expand the Thrift Store operation. The Mission receives a $750,000 grant from the Federal Home Loan Bank in Chicago to fund renovations at Hope Place.
  • 2014 The Mission celebrates its 50th anniversary with “What’s your story?” theme.
  • 2015 The Mission receives “Partners in Success Guardian Award” from Carpenter’s Place.
  • 2016 A $7 million building expansion called Pitney Place is completed. The women and children move in May 10, 2016.
  • 2016 Jay and Christine Akely playground is dedicated.
  • The former Pregnancy Care Center at 611 West State is purchased for expansion.
  • 2017 Drive-thru to Restoration Café opens.
  • The Mission opens expanded education and career program called Works! Center.
  • Remade shop opens at 611 W. State Street.
  • The former Jay Tronics building located at 124 N. Rockton is purchased for future expansion.
  • 2018 William Howard and Lucille D. Dittmar Performing Arts Center opens.
  • Men’s Remade begins
  • Restoration Cafe wins first-place Business is Blooming award from the Rockford Area Convention & Visitors Bureau for its attractive and inviting exterior.